I am four months into my running my own pakihi now. There have been lots of lessons, milestones reached and reflections throughout this time.
It was back in 2020 that that I registered my business however it took 3 years to get where I am today and I still have a long way to go. The reality of starting a business wasn’t so much about money, time or products, but was delayed by an internal narrative of limiting beliefs that prevented me from even starting - the best way to frame it was the idea of being an imposter. I became my own worst self critic, telling myself I couldn’t do it, it was to hard and nobody would want to buy my products anyway.
I really truly believed this narrative I was telling myself. In psychology, a narrative refers to the story or interpretation that an individual constructs to make sense of our experiences, emotions, and identity. It's the way we perceive and communicate the events of our lives to ourselves and others, shaping our understanding of who we are and how we fit into the world.
The narratives we create about ourselves play a crucial role for our hauora. These self-narratives are influenced by various factors, including our upbringing, culture, past experiences, beliefs, and personal values. They can be both conscious and subconscious, and they contribute to our self-esteem, self-concept, and overall mental health.
Here are some strategies to help you recognize and transform your narratives:
- Pay attention to your thoughts, especially those that recur frequently.
- Notice any patterns of negative self-talk or self-limiting beliefs.
- Identify situations or triggers that lead to certain narratives.
- Challenge the accuracy of your narratives. Are they based on facts or assumptions?
- Ask yourself if there's evidence to support your narrative. Are there alternative interpretations?
- Consider whether your narratives are overly negative or self-critical.
- Talk to trusted friends or whānau, or a therapist about your narratives.
- Get an outside perspective to gain insights into how your narratives may be affecting your perceptions.
- Reflect on where your narratives might have originated. Are they influenced by past experiences or traumas?
- Consider how cultural and societal influences might have contributed to your narratives.
- Engage in mindfulness meditation to observe your thoughts without judgment.
- Notice when certain narratives arise and how they make you feel.
Rewrite the Narrative:
- Identify specific narratives you'd like to change, such as self-doubt or self-criticism.
- Create a more balanced and empowering alternative narrative that acknowledges growth and strengths.
- Use visualization techniques to imagine a scenario where your new narrative plays out positively.
- Envision yourself embracing a healthier self-concept and making positive choices.
- Develop positive affirmations that counteract negative narratives.
- Repeat these affirmations regularly to reinforce the new narrative.
- Write down your current narratives and the emotions they evoke.
- Challenge and reframe those narratives in writing. Reflect on how the new narratives make you feel.
Narrative within Te Ao Māori:
Within Te Ao Māori, narratives hold significant cultural, spiritual, and historical importance. Narratives are embedded in these areas of Te Ao Māori.
Whakapapa and Identity: Whakapapa narratives establish a strong sense of identity, belonging, and connection to the past and future.
Purakau: These narratives teach us important cultural values, ethics, and wisdom.
Oral Tradition: Māori narratives have been traditionally transmitted orally, often through waiata, karakia, haka, and storytelling.
Tikanga: Narratives guide tikanga, the customary protocols and practices that govern Māori interactions with each other, the environment, and the spiritual realm.
Te Reo Māori: Narratives are integral to the preservation and promotion of the Māori language, Te Reo Māori.
There are plenty of ways to explore narratives from our culture (whether it be Māori or other cultures you whakapapa to) beyond what I have mentioned.
Exploring cultural narratives helps us embrace and appreciate our cultural identity. It strengthens our connection to our heritage and provides a foundation for understanding ourself in a broader cultural context.
Remember that this exploration is a personal journey, and the benefits will vary for each individual. By intertwining cultural narratives with your internal narratives, you can foster a deeper understanding of yourself, your cultural heritage, and your place within the larger human story.